Grant Preparation Tips

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applying for a grant

When preparing an application, the best advice is to start early and stay connected!

It is best to start early, ask others to review your work, and submit in advance of the deadline. Below are a few more tips to help you get started.


Review the guidelines for the funding opportunity

Carefully check over the guidelines multiple times! Pay attention to the goals of the grant program. Be prepared to state how your project will advance those goals.

Make checklists

Create a checklist of every question you will need to address, every formatting standard to which the application must conform, and any information or supplementary documents you will need to submit with the application.
Consider using subheadings that borrow language from the guidelines. That way, key parts of your application will be easily identifiable by the review committee.
Some guidelines will indicate a particular font or type size, or have rules about how recommendation letters or the proposal itself must be submitted. These instructions should be followed carefully because violation of these standards is often sufficient reason to decline an application without review.
Materials such as a list of the College’s Board of Trustees, financial audit, tax exemption letters, letters of support from college officials, etc. can be obtained by contacting the Corporate and Foundation Relations Office at least two weeks in advance of the deadline.

Establish a schedule for preparing your proposal

Start with the proposal due date and work backwards. Whenever possible, start early and pad your deadlines. Expect the unexpected because prepping a proposal usually takes longer than initially thought.

Request a copy of a successful proposal

Program officers and recent award recipients often share the narrative portion of proposals upon request. Samples of successful proposals may also be on an agency’s website. You may be able to learn from those who were previously successful.

Have others review your work

A fresh set of eyes can do wonders for clarifying and strengthening a proposal. Ask a colleague to review the application for content and context. A representative of the Corporate and Foundation Relations Office can review applications for clarity and flow.

Submit before the deadline

Don’t be left in a lurch when the server crashes with only 20 minutes left before the proposal deadline. If the funding agency requires a hard-copy application, don’t rush to the post office before it closes so you can pay $30 for overnight delivery. Set an early submission deadline for yourself and aim for that date.

For more formal guidance and recommendations, contact the Corporate and Foundation Relations Office. The sites linked below may also be of use.

A Guide to Proposal Planning and Writing by Jeremy T. Miner and Lynn E. Miner

• The Foundation Center’s Short Course on Proposal Writing

• The Foundation Center’s Proposal Writing for Individuals

• The Foundation Center’s Proposal Budgeting Basics

How to Write a Grant Proposal: The Basics — From Summary to Budget by Joanne Fritz,

Developing and Writing Grant Proposals by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)
[Particularly useful for federal grants.]